5 Ways Total Rewards Can Help Recruit Top Talent

Insight By
Michael LoVasco
Employee Benefits

A robust total rewards program helps you attract and retain the best possible talent for your organization. Add a great workplace culture and environment and you could be on your way to becoming an employer of choice among job-seekers.

What is a total rewards program?

A total rewards program is comprised of all the tools available to an employer that may be used to attract, motivate and retain employees. To an employee or candidate seeking new employment, total rewards represents the perceived value as a result of the employment relationship. A well-structured total rewards program offers intrinsic and extrinsic incentives, including:

  1. Compensation—base pay, overtime, bonuses
  2. Work/life balance—flexible scheduling, work from home resources
  3. Benefits—health, life, dental and vision insurance, retirement plan, and voluntary benefits
  4. Recognition—feedback regarding performance and areas needing improvement, employee recognition programs
  5. Growth and development—performance development planning, career paths, internal and external training, tuition reimbursement

However, the playing field has changed with the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve gone from record employment to record unemployment. That should make it easier to recruit top talent, right? It might—but only if your benefits are up to the challenge.

First, confirm that your pay and benefits are competitive. Compensation is the first step in preparing a comprehensive total rewards program; however, it is not the whole picture when it comes to winning those all-star candidates.

According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey, perks and pay aren’t what matter most to many employees—it’s personalized rewards that help meet their needs. Furthermore, only 11% of companies in Deloitte’s survey felt their rewards strategy was highly aligned with their organization’s goals.[1]

What does this mean for you? You might have some gaps to fill between the components of your total rewards program and employees’ needs. And since the survey was conducted in 2019 before COVID-19 appeared, your future employees’, and thus applicants’, needs are evolving.

What are the key benefits to consider?

Here are five important benefits you might want to include in your total rewards program during this work from home (WFH) new normal:[2]

  1. Comprehensive healthcare. Your applicant needs to know they will be covered if they become ill. Without this type of coverage, they could face financial hardship in covering expenses.
  2. Paid sick leave. According to the Bureau of LaborStatistics, employees in private industries had an average of seven days of sick leave for one year of service in 2018.[3]  While the FFCRA has standardized 80 hours of sick leave for coronavirus, there is evidence that some cases may take a month or more to recover from. Seven days, and only after one year of service, may not be adequate for your new hire.
  3. Remote work. WFH has been encouraged—even required—because of social distancing and stay at home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19. How is your organization supporting your employees WFH needs?
  4. Mental health assistance. WFH may be beneficial in many ways, but along with the accompanying isolation, it can be mentally exhausting. An Employee Assistance Program can help to alleviate the stress and distress caused by WFH isolation.
  5. Financial wellness programs. Financial wellness programs seek to help employees with their #1 stressor – finances. The program can help them prepare for unexpected emergencies, student loan debt, future college savings, and/or retirement. With the pandemic, financial wellness has become even more important for employees facing additional challenges such as higher medical bills or the possibility of losing a job. Applicants and new hires may find it reassuring that such a program exists should they need it.

Does your total rewards program contain these benefits?

If there are opportunities for improvement, work with your HR and benefits teams to discuss ways to adjust benefits within the program. It will take some planning, but it could be worth the effort if it means being the employer of choice for top talent. In considering changes:

  1. Take a long-term perspective
  2. Be consistent and fair
  3. Adapt your total reward policies to your industry
  4. Don’t forget your current employees! Communicate any and all enhancements to the program to your current, as well as future, employees

Top job seekers are not looking for only a good salary but also excellent benefits. To recruit the best, you have to be the best, and part of that is having an outstanding total rewards program.

[1] Deloitte Insights, “Employee Rewards: What Do Employees Value Most?” 2019.

[2] Kathryn Mayer, Human Resource Executive, “8 benefits employers should zero in on during the COVID-19 pandemic,” March 24, 2020.

[3] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Private industry workers with sick leave benefits received 8 days per year at 20 years of service,” March 8, 2019.

Insight By
Michael LoVasco
Executive Vice President
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Employee Benefits
Published on

November 15, 2021

updated on

November 15, 2021


This article is for educational purposes only. The tax and legal references attached herein are designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered and are provided with the understanding that LoVasco Consulting Group is not engaged in rendering tax or legal services. If tax or legal advice is required, you should consult your accountant or attorney. LoVasco Consulting Group does not replace those advisors.

Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a registered broker dealer and Investment Advisor, member FINRA / SIPC. LoVasco Consulting Group is independently owned and operated.

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